Friday, April 30, 2004

Orthodox in the ECUSA

The experience of being an orthodox conservative in the mainline Episcopal Church varies greatly from diocese to diocese. For example, over at Ecclesia Anglicana is a post from Taylor, a youth pastor who has serious issues with the ECUSA, to put it mildly, but stays in because his excellent diocese is orthodox and probably will be for years to come. (The post was made April 27th. Sorry, his blog format won’t allow me to link directly to the post.) And in the Episcopal form of government in which dioceses have a lot of autonomy, that’s not a trivial matter at all.

He makes a persuasive case that, like it or not, we can’t cut ourselves off from evil done in the body of Christ. And to some extent that’s true. Evil done in Christ’s name hurts the whole church and the witness of the Gospel.

But I think that’s where church discipline such as excommunication comes in. I think there comes a time when you tell a church or its leaders that they are evil unrepentant apostates and we will have nothing to do with you unless you do repent. That is the approach of Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria and one I agree with (and I suspect Taylor agrees with as well).

I don’t necessarily disagree with Taylor on staying in the ECUSA. If I were in his shoes, I probably would stay in the ECUSA, too, given his diocese. But I would do so with trepidation.

For apostasy is contagious. And orthodox dioceses and even individual orthodox bishops can catch the disease. And the consequences can be ugly. Here in sad detail is the current experience of an orthodox parish in one such diocese. I strongly recommend reading this.

Note that the bishop involved, Paul Marshall, at least once had the reputation of being orthodox and until recently gave St. Stephens parish no problems. But now?

Looking at his situation as an orthodox priest in a revisionist diocese, [St. Stephens rector] Ilgenfritz said that “the only means of protest we had was to withhold money to the diocese, and now he is going to use that to try and depose me. The bishop is a canonical fundamentalist when it comes to money, but loose on biblical standards of morality.�

Last year the bishop wrote a book lauding lesbian love.


This parish and its courageous rector, Fr. William H. Ilgenfritz, deserve our prayers. And we need to pray for all orthodox believers in the ECUSA. They all have some tough choices to make.

Please note that in the case of Taylor’s diocese, the Diocese of Ft. Worth, I think it highly unlikely that Bishop Iker would stray. I could say the same about a number of other fine bishops, such as +Stanton of Dallas. But what about his successor, and the one after and…? And how long will the ECUSA allow any diocese to be a bastion of orthodoxy?
If you think the lovers of abortion who marched for death last weekend are nice people, you need to read this.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

The truth comes out on Hussein’s collaborators.

Once again, Chris Johnson is on top of things.

But most of the news media is being predictably strangely quiet about France, Russia, and other Hussein toadies boot-lickers allies being on the take. I wonder why?

For the record, I was outraged back when Hussein was allowed to pump more oil in the charade of the UN Oil for Food program. What a noxious joke! Anyone with half a brain knew the money was going to his military and his palaces.

But it’s funny how money can buy off the brains of the greedy and unprincipled. Yes, I’m talking about you, France.
ECUSA babykillers.

For those who can stomach it, here's some more color on Episcopalian involvement in this past Sunday's death march.

Next thing you know, we'll have liturgies for abortions in the ECUSA. I'm not joking.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I want to clarify something after yesterday’s remarks. I believe church authorities should be tough on those who claim to be Christians, but are not and/or who use the name of Christ as a cover for willful and outrageous sin. That goes double for apostate church leaders.

But the church’s approach to those who honestly say they are not Christians and who do not claim to be a part of the church should be completely different with much more sympathy, forbearance, and gentleness.

This is a crazy day with a number of my investments not acting happy and with my truck in the shop. So I can’t go through all the scripture that backs up the two different approaches. But they are Biblical. For example, compare Paul’s empathetic speech to the Athenians with the very tough things he wrote to false and wayward Christians in I Corinthians and Galatians.

I think a big reason for the difference in these approaches is that when someone claims the name of Christ, His reputation and that of the Gospel is on the line.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Lib Church

The controversy over John Kerry being allowed to take communion on the very weekend that he supports open season on unborn children for all nine months of pregnancy brings attention to the so-called church he attends.

It’s a church of “Catholics� who clearly don’t like Catholicism. They remind me of a number of Protestant “churches� led by people who don’t much like Christianity.

So why do such churches exist? And why do the church authorities above them allow them to exist under their auspices? What’s the point of calling yourself a church if you’re not going to be the church and hold to Christ and His word? And why do you want to keep the Catholic label if abortion and gay sex is more important to you than being faithful to the Catholic church and its teachings?

And why do church authorities aid and abet Satan by giving cover to his counterfeit churches? The Archbishop of Boston should tell these people that they have every right as Americans to play church. But if they are going to do it under Catholic auspices, then they will respect orthodox Catholic teaching and authority or will be excommunicated and booted out of the Catholic church. But no. This “church� is allowed to have it both ways – and give attendees like John Kerry cover for their willful sin.

Oh but we should “make sure that everyone feels welcome and that everyone participates in the liturgy.� Being welcoming is great. But allowing anyone to participate in communion so matter what their willful sin or unbelief is wrong. Aiding someone’s illusion that they are perfectly all right with God when they are not and are instead children of Satan bound for Hell is not loving. Church discipline, when proclaiming and holding to the standard of the truth in love, is necessary tough love that can lead someone to obedience to Christ. At the very least, it gives clear warning, which often is the most loving thing one can do towards someone headed in the direction of destruction.

Today’s perverted view of “tolerance� that welcomes everybody and everything (that isn’t conservative, of course) is no substitute for truth and love. And if you think it’s just a coincidence that the oh-so-tolerant Archdiocese of Boston was a center of clergy sexual abuse, then think again. Sexual abuse of children and youth was rampant in that diocese precisely because priests who perverted the truth and themselves were tolerated. Heck, the bishop even tolerated a priest who advocated man-boy sex. And, sure enough, he ended up practicing what he preached.

Churches should have to guts to say, “NO! You will not use the Church of Christ as cover to teach and practice the lies of Satan. In the name of Christ, repent or stop calling yourself either by His name or by His Church!� Any church that doesn’t have the backbone and commitment to do that is no church I want any part of.

Yes, it provokes me to see “churches� abuse Christ’s name to teach, practice or “tolerate� what is against Christ. It enrages me to see churches blaspheme the name of Christ by using the name as a cover for baby killing and apostasy. But Satan loves to use counterfeits. So I guess that’s what’s to be expected.

But I will not tolerate it.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Anathema!

Here’s a revealing list of sponsors of the death rally yesterday.

Note all the Planned Parenthood sponsors. Those who think Planned Parenthood isn’t about killing babies have their heads in the sand.

And what is the Sierra Club doing sponsoring this? Save the whales and kill the babies?!

But worst of all, note the “churches� sponsoring this. Among others, the Episcopal Church USA and the mainline Presbyterian Church, my FORMER denomination are on the list.

There’s only one word fitting for such. Anathema to those who use the name of Christ to support abortion on demand! Anathema!
�Shame on you.�

Indeed, shame on anyone who would march to support baby-killing. And, yes, that’s an appropriate term. These people want abortion on demand legal for all nine months. They, with John Kerry, even support partial birth abortion.

May God, in His grace, bring many of these to repentance, but the rest to His justice.

And shame on us. It is a sick society that can turn out hundreds of thousands to rally to kill children.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

I’ve become a fan of Evening Prayer. EP this past Wednesday at Small Continuing Anglican Church was particularly special because of two things that happened afterwards.

First, immediately after the conclusion of Evening Prayer, they did “Hymn Practice,� which I’ve never seen or heard of before. Everyone sat in close (unlike the services where people like to sit far back, which is funny at such a small church). The kids sat in the first two rows.

The rector then led us through a “new� hymn to debut this coming Sunday. Actually, it was an ancient hymn – we’re talking 5th century folks – as are a lot of the hymns sung there. I like most of the old hymns they sing, by the way. Beats the tail out of “Lord, I lift your name on high.�

Anyway, the rector read through a verse, then asked us (particularly the kids) what the verse meant. Then a kid or two would pipe right up. They were into it and gave intelligent answers. Sometimes the adults said something intelligent, too. After we did each verse this way, we practiced singing it with the big organ in back accompanying us. We sang lustily. It was great.

You can tell the kids really liked it. It’s one of the ways kids participate with the whole church. This church doesn’t believe in segregating the kids or dumbing things down for them. And the kids seem to like that.

Second, during the EP service, where we paused to pray for specific people, I prayed for a high school guy I know who is having a tough time after his dad committed suicide a couple years ago. Well, when I got back to my hotel, there was a very encouraging e-mail waiting for me from him. It turns out he wrote it the same hour as the service!

Hey, God answers Evening Prayer!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

So you thought bringing up polygamy when discussing gay marriage is rhetorical excess.

Well, guess what? It isn't.

Monday, April 19, 2004

A small problem in the Anglican Communion

There’s a small problem (that I have, at least) with the Anglican Communion. I haven’t mentioned it before. But the problem is that the Prime Minister of the UK appoints the Archbishop of Canterbury and other important church officials. Yes, I know -- it’s technically the Queen who makes the appointments. And God save our Gracious Queen and all that. But it’s really the PM who chooses.

(Clarification: The Prime Minister makes only certain appointments and only in the Church of England. Still, they are stinking important appointments to the whole Anglican Communion.)

A look at church history shows that politicians and royalty appointing key church officials is often not a good thing. And it’s certainly proving to be not a good thing now.

For Tony Blair has picked Jeffery John to fill a key Church of England post. And he apparently has been quite insistent about it.

Now, I’m agnostic on whether Jeffery John is an appropriate pick. Yes, he’s gay, but apparently celibate. So I don’t think he’s disqualified on those grounds. (In short, I think the Bible addresses sexual conduct, not orientation.) Whether he has repented of any past misconduct and whether his teachings are in line with Biblical orthodoxy is another question.

But even if he’s a great appointment (as many think, but which I doubt), its timing is horrendous. The various Anglican provinces have been asked to refrain from precipitate actions until after the Eames Commission makes its report this Fall. There is already, oh, just a little *cough cough* controversy over the appointment of gays to church offices. This appointment and its timing throws gasoline on the fires of the controversy. And it makes a split of the Anglican Communion more likely. Couldn't Tony Blair at least give the Eames Commission a chance to create consensus on how to handle such things first?

Yes, yes, I know the Church of England is an established church and has been since King Henry VIII. Royalty and politicians have been making appointments throughout its history. Not all those appointments have been brilliant. Yet somehow the C of E has survived.

But seeing that process in action under Tony Blair makes me all the more glad that established churches are unconstitutional on this side of the pond.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Contempt

The attitudes of some Episcopal liberals toward the African primates amaze me. Instead of recognizing that they underestimated the conviction and courage of the Archbishops of Nigeria and of Uganda and others, these liberals rain contempt on them and on their efforts to uphold orthodoxy in the Anglican Communion.

Here’s an excerpt from The Guardian quoting a liberal U. S. churchperson. The quote is so incredible, I wonder if the Guardian made it up.

Such contempt is amazing. Under whose leadership has the growth of the Anglican church been exploding? Certainly not under ++Griswold in the U. S. but under ++Akinola and the other African primates. Who is firmly upholding Anglican orthodoxy? Not Griswold or ++Carnley or any number of Western church leaders, but the African primates.

Their conviction is so obviously due respect, especially when they are willing to pay a price for it. I think there must be a bit of racism behind the public liberal contempt for the African primates.

Oh, sorry, I forgot. Only mean right-wing conservatives can be racist.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Courage

As reported in numerous places, the African Anglican primates have decided to refuse to accept donations from those supporting the confirmation of Gene Robinson. This is definitely putting their money where their mouths (and convictions) are, since much of their donations comes from such sources. The famous and wealthy Trinity Church on Wall Street in one such source.

As the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola said, “We will not, on the altar of money, mortgage our conscience, mortgage our faith, mortgage our salvation."

Closer to home, five Ohio Episcopal congregations – the same five who participated in those controversial confirmations earlier this year – have told the new liberal bishop in their diocese not to come calling

These congregations will likely pay a price for their repudiation of liberal bishop Hollingsworth. Some expect their rectors and vestries to be deposed as has happened elsewhere in cases where parishes refuse to compromise and kiss liberal butt.

Do you think those who voted for Robinson underestimated the courage of conservatives?

Thursday, April 15, 2004

No, I am not a prophet. (More on Gorelick.)

No, I’m not a prophet, but my Tuesday post questioning Jamie Gorelick’s participation on the 9-11 Commission sure is making me look like one. Since then, John Ashcroft released a memo that Gorelick wrote when she was in the Clinton Justice Department. This memo clearly played a role in making interagency sharing of information on terrorists more difficult. Gorelick’s memo ordered a separation of criminal and intelligence terrorism investigations that, in her own words, went “beyond what is legally required.�

A lack of coordination and information sharing between federal agencies is widely cited as a factor that made preventing 9-11 difficult.

I join the calls for her to resign from the Commission. Again, she is on the wrong side of the microphones. She’s got some explaining to do. She should be answering some pointed questions instead of asking them. Gorelick says she’s not resigning, however – typical behavior from a Clintonite.

Here’s a summary article, which includes a link to the memo itself.
�If I be lifted up . . . “

I think I’ve mentioned here that during Lent I prayed everyday for God to use The Passion movie greatly. And I know many others have been praying likewise.

Well, God enjoys answering prayers in ways beyond even the imaginations of those doing the praying. The last place I would have expected The Passion of the Christ to have much of a positive impact is the Middle East. Yet it’s happening.

The response of Muslims to The Passion is amazing. For many many years, Muslims have been one of the hardest groups to evangelize. Frankly, I’ve been guilty of the sin of pretty much writing them off. Yet this movie is moving many Muslims to search out more about Christ. Praise be to God!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

9-11 Commission Rant

I was so naive as to think the 9-11 Commission was about finding out the truth. After watching them the past few days, I am disabused of that notion. It's more like obscuring the truth and playing "Gotcha!" I find the conduct of certain Democrats on the panel especially disgusting. And what is Ms. Gorelick doing on the panel in the first place? That Clintonite was high up in the Justice Department under Reno. She should be on the other side of the microphones.

And how can the Clintonite Democrats on the commission try to pin the blame on Bush as they are so obviously trying to do when Clinton had 8 years to deal with Bin Laden and dropped the ball? Some on that panel have no shame. Of course, that could be said for a lot of Democrats.

Monday, April 12, 2004

It’s getting to be uncanny how Small Continuing Anglican Church looks like a good fit for me. I’m already getting pretty attached to the place. I like the people there and they seem to like having me around. They are more approachable than I was expecting. I enjoyed going to Luby’s with one family after Easter services. I guess I was expecting a continuing Anglican congregation to be a bit austere.

Since it’s on the Protestant end of Anglicanism, I was also expecting the worship to be a bit austere, and it is in spots, which is fine. But as a whole, it is not far from ideal for me. The rectors both have a passion for ancient church traditions, which results in services that really help me worship and are both serious and fun.

They are also both passionate about truth, often in an intellectual way. It makes their teaching a bit hard to follow at times as they sometimes try to cram too much into one talk. But they appreciate vigorous discussion and thought. No Christianity Lite from them. So I would certainly be stimulated there, as I was during their excellent messages on the Seven Last Words of Christ on Good Friday. That’s not a requirement for me, but it’s a plus.

I could go on, but it seems God is moving quickly in guiding my choice of a church here in Corpus. Picky square peg that I am, I thought it would take a while. But it’s looking like God had different ideas. This square peg might have found a good fit rather quickly.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

This year is my first one of Anglican Holy Week services, and it's been quite an experience.

Last night, I went to my first ever Easter Vigil (This one was an abbreviated version of the 1979 BCP Great Vigil of Easter) at Small Continuing Anglican Church (name changed as you might remember). It started with us outside as the priest lit a fire (with charcoal! only in Texas), then poured incense on it. The fire lit the Paschal candle and our candles. Then we all participated in a procession behind the candle into the sanctuary and stood in front for the first part of the service.

At the end, we renewed our baptismal vows. Then the priest came down the aisle and sprinkled us with holy water with his aspergillum to remind us of our baptism.

As I said afterwards, "That was fun." Incense, processions, candles, holy water -- next thing you know I'll be Cartholick!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Today is Maundy Thursday, which turns my thoughts to a special
Maundy Thursday years ago. . . .

My foster dad (My mom died when I was 13.) was the youth minister at Casa Linda Presbyterian Church. In his wisdom, he didn't make me go to church or church events. I had a wide independent streak, so that would have likely backfired. And so I didn’t go to church. But both Rick and Annette impressed me, especially with their peace. So I decided to check things out for myself by reading the Bible, starting with the Gospels.

Anyway, he invited me to come to a Junior High lock-in at the church. My attitude was “Well, it’s a church thing. But it sounds like fun anyway.� So I went. (Yes, my church experiences before my teen years were not positive. Church was a place where you saw a lot of hypocrites and got bored out of your gourd.)

Well at the lock-in there was a girl who took an obvious liking to me. And I liked her. This was the first really cute girl I can remember liking me. As to be expected of a 13 year old guy, I was as high as a kite.

Towards the end of the night, she invited me to come to Communicants class. I didn’t know what the hey Communicants class was, but she was in it, so I went.

There was one last class (I joined in the middle of it.), then the Communicants retreat.

At the retreat, one of the church elders explained the Gospel to us. And it immediately clicked with me. Probably I had the Gospel preached to me in Church before, but it was just religious words to me. But this time I understood it and accepted it almost immediately. At what point it became more than just an intellectual acceptance and I trusted in the Gospel for myself, I don’t know. But that came very quickly, perhaps on the retreat itself.

Meanwhile, the girl dumped me at the retreat. I went to my cabin and cried hard. But, like I tell people, I lost the girl but gained the Lord.

As was the custom at that church, we made our public profession of faith and took our first communion on Maundy Thursday. I remember having a strong peace after the service that was almost tangible.

That was on Maundy Thursday, March 27th, 1975.

Oh, there’s a reason I remember that -- it was my 14th birthday.

How many people can celebrate their physical birthday and spiritual birthday on the same day?

(By the way, in writing this, it occurred to me that next year will be my 30th spiritual birthday. I think that will be worthy of a celebration. So I looked up when March 27th will fall next year – it’s Easter Sunday! Next year will be one special Easter for me.)

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

A canon thumper gets put in his place.

One liberal Father Zabriske wrote a letter to Bishop Allison, one of the retired orthodox bishops who have crossed diocesan boundaries to minister to orthodox Episcopalians. Zabriske said “good Episcopalians can differ regarding important theological and ethical matters� but crossing diocesan boundaries is going too far. Yes, we must hold to geographical fundamentalism, said the canon thumper.

Bishop Allison's reply is wonderful. Among other pointed comments, he said, "I am thankful that our Anglican forebears did not do the idolatrous thing in elevating polity over 'important theological and ethical matters.'�

Amen. It frankly provokes me when liberal bishops throw out basics of the faith, but insist on canon thumping and geographical fundamentalism and use it to oppress the orthodox. To Hell with using the canons as cover for apostasy and persecution!

Here's the article.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

The first time I heard the word "Anglican"

The first time I heard the word "Anglican" somewhat randomly came to mind today.

One of the first times I saw Monty Python's Flying Circus, there was the Ron Obvious sketch. In it, Ron Obvious tries, among other things, to eat a cathedral. When he is about to begin his attempt, John Cleese as a breathless announcer says Mr. Obvious will now attempt to "eat an entire Anglican cathedral."

I had no idea what "Anglican" was. I was a young teenager, and it went completely over my head.

Of course a few years ago, I still didn't know what "Anglican" was.

Monday, April 05, 2004

I'm a bit pressed for time today. But I recommend a bold, perceptive letter comparing the situations in the mainline Presbyterian and Episcopal churches.

You might remember that I'm a former Presbyterian.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

I’ve been really looking forward to Holy Week this year. . . . Ha! That’s quite a change in the past year, me just calling it Holy Week.

Anyway, I went to my first Anglican Palm Sunday service at Christ Church Episcopal this morning. Geez, I made a crying fool of myself. In the service, I was overwhelmed with Christ and what He’s done for me. I even clutched the little palm cross to my heart like I was a weeping Catholic. Oh dear, what’s become of me! ;^)

This week will also be my first time at Anglican Maundy Thursday, Stations of the Cross, and Seven Last Words services. And I’m looking forward to praying the collects and doing some of the BCP scripture passages for each day.

Again, what a change in me. In the past, I didn’t even pay much attention to Palm Sunday. And although I certainly think of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, I’ve never been to a Good Friday service. To be honest, Easter sometimes hasn’t been a big deal to me either. Of course, the death and resurrection of Jesus mean everything to me and has for a long time. I’ve just never gotten into celebrating certain days – until now. I might talk more about that sometime.

Anyway, this is already looking like a very special week.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Peaceful Islam? Yeah, right.

Iraqi Sunni Muslim clerics have denounced the mutilation of murdered Americans in Fallujah. But they refuse to condemn the killings themselves.

That’s one more reason not to feed me any crap about “peaceful Islam.�

Friday, April 02, 2004

Infant Baptismal Regeneration II

I’ve been in e-mail discussions with a rector I respect and have been doing a bit of reading and . . . now, don’t get too excited, my Anglican friends, but . . . now you can color me confused on the subject of infant baptism.

I still see problems with the Anglican view of infant baptism, but I understand it better and see there’s a persuasive Biblical case that can be made for it. And I see there are problems with my believer’s baptism view. I will do more reading and study, including a Bible word study on baptism. But I’m not at all sure I’ll come to a final view on the subject. I see the problems with both sides as quite thorny.

I do respect infant baptism more now. And since, like a good Anglican, I give weight to tradition, I have to consider that those who don’ t practice infant baptism are definitely in the minority, both now and historically.

I am glad to hear from the rector that my views shouldn’t be a problem in joining an Anglican church since I have an attitude of not raising a stink about differences on non-essential theological issues. Moreover, I think he enjoys vigorous theological discussion and would enjoy having me around.

That’s good since it’s very possible I’ll end up joining his parish.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Whiney Fundamentalist!

Whiney Canadian Geographical Fundamentalist, that is. (Ha! Had you wondering. April Fools!)

Yes, my favorite apostate Canadian, Acting Primate David Crawley is whining again about bishops and archbishops committing the crime of actually trying to help out distressed orthodox parishes in Canada. How terrible.

Crawley’s combination of hubris, apostasy, and whining is a wonder to watch. Out of his Geographical Fundamentalist grasping for power, he is now rebuking not one, not two, but four Anglican primates! Do you think Crawley is losing his grip? Do you think it’s not just orthodox parishes he’s alienating, but big chunks of the Anglican Communion?

Of course, unlike the four primates, Crawley doesn’t give a flip about the authority of scripture and Biblical sexual morality. But try to cross diocese lines and watch him fulminate! What a Canon thumper!

Crawley is a whiney fool, and not just an April one. If the Anglican Church of Canada continues to follow in his direction, it will hasten it’s decent into irrelevance.